Pearce to lead England v Holland

Stuart Pearce will take temporary charge of England for this month's friendly against the Netherlands while the search for Fabio Capello's permanent successor as boss gets underway ahead of June's European Championships.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp, the hot favourite to fill the vacancy, said on Thursday he was paying no attention to speculation linking him with the job and was concentrating on Saturday's Premier League match against Newcastle United.

"I don't know anything about the England job, I've not thought about it. I've got a big job to do, I've got a big game on Saturday with Tottenham so Tottenham is my focus," he told reporters as he left his home on the south coast.

Capello, who quit the job on Wednesday after a disagreement with the Football Association over John Terry being stripped of the captaincy, issued a short statement as he flew out of London.

"I would like to thank all players, staff and Football Association for the professionalism they have shown during my years as manager of the English national team," said the Italian, who helped England qualify for two major championships but flopped at the 2010 World Cup.

"A very special thanks to all the supporters - they've always supported the team and me in our job. I wish all of them every success in achieving all their sporting goals."

Capello resigned after 42 matches in charge leaving England without a manager or captain four months before the start of Euro 2012, where they will be aiming for their first major trophy since 1966.

England Under-21 and British Olympic team coach Pearce will lead the team when they host Netherlands at Wembley on February 29, the first of their three friendlies before the start of the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine in June.

Pearce, 49, made almost 750 league appearances during his playing career. The majority was with Nottingham Forest but he also played for Coventry City, Newcastle United, West Ham United and Manchester City, as well as picking up 78 caps for England.

He has been the England Under-21 manager since 2007 and was one of Capello's assistants with the senior team after the Italian took over the following year.

"He has huge experience inside and outside this organisation... he knows the players very well," FA Chairman David Bernstein told a news conference. "I have great confidence in Stuart, we will be in good hands.

"Our priority then will be to appoint a new England manager... with a total focus on getting the best person in place as soon as we sensibly can.

"We don't want to rush the process, we want to do it properly, do it professionally... we'll be putting a shortlist together of key people. We'll do that as soon as we can."

ENGLISHMAN PREFERRED

Bernstein said the board would be sitting down on Friday to discuss the issue.

While Bernstein would not comment on the widespread media and player speculation over Redknapp, he said there was a preference for an Englishman to get the job.

"He will not definitely be English but clearly there is a preference for an Englishman or a British person but in the end we want the best person so I'm certainly not prepared to rule out anything at this stage," Bernstein said.

Redknapp's photo was on the front and back pages of most British national newspapers on Thursday, the day after a jury cleared him on two charges of tax evasion in a high-profile criminal trial that lasted for 13 days.

Redknapp's acquittal and Capello's departure came within hours of each other on a truly remarkable day with the drama continuing on Thursday.

Keith Mills, a director at Tottenham, said no one at the club wanted Redknapp to leave.

"If he is approached then clearly he has a big decision to make," he told the BBC.

"He's managing a top-three team in the biggest l